A RISING musical star was allegedly shot dead by her own brothers in the conservative city of Peshawar in Pakistan last week after she had appeared on television.
The murder of Ayman Udas, who was in her early thirties and newly married, has shocked the city’s artistic community because it symbolises a backlash against women and cultural freedom in an area that is increasingly dominated by Islamic funda-mentalists.
As a singer and song writer in her native Pashto, the language of the tribal areas and the NorthWest Frontier province, Udas frequently performed on PTV, the state-run channel.
She won considerable acclaim for her songs but had become a musician in the face of bitter opposition from her family, who believed it was sinful for a woman to perform on television.
Ashamed of her growing popularity her two brothers are reported to have entered her flat last week while her husband was out and fired three bullets into her chest. Neither has been caught.
The final song performed by Udas on screen seems to have portended her death. It was entitled, “I died but still live among the living, because I live on in the dreams of my lover.” Udas, a divorced mother of two, had remarried 10 days before she was murdered.
Fellow performers, many of whom have received death threats from hardline Islamist groups, were stunned by the killing.
In recent months several popular artists have been forced to stop performing as singers and comedians. Others have fled the country or moved to other cities.
Initially, it was believed that Udas was killed by an Islamic group. But Usman Khan, her husband, told police in a statement that she had been killed by her brothers because they could not come to terms with her musical career.
He said: “She was killed for breaking her family traditions.”
Source: Sunday Times